and use the searchable database and find lepgs to the author's blogs, facebook pages and twitter feeds. book notes.org with brand new look and feel. a helpful research tool and a great way to watch and enjoy the authors and their books. >> well, people don't understand how it works with bookings. a lot of people write books, and then they spend the next two years trying to get somebody to publish their books. i've never really experienced that. so when people come to me and how do you get a book published, i say, look, i'm the wrong person to ask. [laughter] but, you know, finally felt that really i had something to say. i don't write books just for the purpose of writing books. the first three, four books, actually, i did with a co-writer.
and, basically, i would sometimes dictate into a tape recorder and then send them the tapes, and then they would, you know, transcribe things. >> [inaudible] >> this last book i did myself with my wife. you know, she did a lot of the research, and, you know, helped with the editing. and, of course, she's quick to point out it's the first one that hit number one on "the new york times" bestseller list. [laughter] but, actually, i enjoy very much working with my wife, so certainly i'll be doing that from now on. fortunately, it does tend to come pretty easily. it's very much like speaking. when i give a speech, you know, i don't have a written text. i just go up there and, you know, i survey the situation, i ascertain what kind of audience
we have, and, you know, i'll have a few points that i want to make sure that i make which i might have written on a card, and i just start speaking. basically, i write the same way. you know? i'll have a chapter title, and i'll write down some bullet points about what i want to say, and i'll order them. i just start dictating. and so it's very much, you know, what's on my heart. you know, i always pray and i ask god to guide me in my writing to give me wisdom in terms of what points need to be brought out. and i think he does a rate good job of that. -- a pretty good job of that. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2. here's our prime time lineup for tonight. next, paul butler sits down with booktv at georgetown university law center. then at 8 hugh hewitt talks about his book, "the happiest
life: seven gifts, seven givers and the secret to genuine success." at 9 p.m. eastern, a look at the mental health of japanese war kyls suspects with eric jaffe. and at 9:45 p.m., booktv talks to david koplow. and we wrap up at 10 p.m. eastern with "after words" with philippe fernandezer necessary toe, author of "our america: a hispanic history of the united states." that all happens next on c-span2's booktv. next, another interview from booktv's clerk series. georgetown law professor paul butler talks about his book "let's get free." professor butler describes his life as a federal prosecutor and his decision to leave the job after being wrongfully arrested and charged with assault. this is about an hour.
>> host: let's get free is the name of the book, a hip-hop theory of justice is the subtitle. the author, georgetown law professor paul butler. professor butler, what's a hip-hop theory of justice? >> guest: a hip-hop theory of justice isyou listen to hip-hop -- if you listen to hip-hop, you're reminded that there are two and a half million people locked up. you can watch all these reality shows about real housewives and all these movies about vampires and the hobbits, and you'll never know that we lock up more people in the united states than any country in the history of world. you can't listen to urban radio more than 30 minutes without being reminded of that fact. there are constant shoutouts in hip-hop culture to brothers and sisters when are away -- who are away, who are locked up, who we're not supposed to think about, who hip-hop doesn't let us forget. so it's anything from kendrick
lamar wondering why of all the devastating drugs -- and to him the worst is alcohol, he's got this song called drink which is about the devastation and the fun of being drunk -- people wondering why we lock up people for selling weed. wield is the hip-hop -- weed is the hip-hop drug of choice, marijuana is. they love it. so lots of questions about criminal law policy, how it is in the books and also on the streets. lots of opinions about how we can be safer and freer if we listen to hip-hop. you know, the people who create hip-hop actually are perfectly situated to give us great criminal justice. there's this philosopher named john rawls who talks about the best possible justice system
being created by people who don't know who you're going to be in the world. so imagine you tonight know whether you're black or white, asian or latino, gay or straight, immigrant or citizen, you make the best possible law, this philosopher says. with criminal justice, that's the hip-hop nation. it consists of people who are most likely to be charged with crimes. everybody knows that, young black men. but also people who are most likely to be victims of crime. so in their music, in their art hip-hop artists are laying down on tracks what a criminal justice system would look like, what a justice system would look like if we treated everybody equally, fairly and wanted to keep the streets safe. so, again, it's brilliant, ground-level reporting that nobody else is doing right now about the law on the books and in the streets. >> host: does hip-hop justice have any relationship to zero
tolerance, three strikes, broken windows? >> guest: yeah. the art of hip-hop is the remix. so what hip-hop does, it takes all of these things that you read about in the newspaper, some people do, and other people experience it on the street like stop and frisk, like three strikes and you're out. but also the class youic philosophers talked about the importance of retribution, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. jay-z has a song where he says if you kill my dog, i'm going to kill your hat -- kill your cat. same concept, this idea of equivalence. you know, when i started thinking about hip-hop carefully, it was around the time that i started being a law professor. and i practiced criminal law as a prosecutor for years, but i never really had gotten to the theory until i started teaching. and i heard this conversation between these classic philosophers like jeremy --
[inaudible] and snoop dogg and nicki minaj. they were saying the same things about the fairness of punishment, about who the society should select out to intentionally hurt. so, you know, people say you should write about things that only you can write about. i didn't know anybody who was as well versed in both hip-hop and criminal philosophy as me. and so sure enough, all these concepts, again, this remix of three strikes. and it comes out not just as interesting philosophy, but as brilliant art. man, tupac shakur has the song about -- it's called "your mama," and it's about his mom who was a brilliant political activist who for a while suffered from an addiction to drugs. his dad wasn't in the picture. and the dope boys on the corner
who helped raise him. they helped make him a man. so does hip-hop consider current events? yes. does it kind of put that through a wash of art and culture and history? it absolutely does. >> host: paul butler, you write: i became a prosecutor because i hate bullies. i stopped being a prosecutor because i hate bullies. >> guest: so i grew up in chicago, and you can't as a young black kid in chicago have a view, an eyed listic, romantic view of the policing with your friends, as the guys who help you when your cat gets stuck in a tree. of that's not how it was where i grew up. and when i went to law school, people thought that i was this kind of down for the cause brother who would come out and work for legal aid or be a public defender. but i'd heard that prosecutors had all this power. and the way to make a change was
to create change from the inside. so i went in as this kind of undercover brother who wanted to see what i could do from the inside. it didn't work. [laughter] what i found was that rather than change the system, the system changed me. it's not like i started on the first day calling the defendants all these kind of bad words that the prosecutors use to talk about the defendants. that took a while. but needless to say, in prosecutors' offices, defendants aren't held in high regard. so when you think about the things that i was concerned about like unequal education, the lousy miseducation of a lot of our children, broken homes, the kinds of things that make folks at risk for going to prison, in prosecutors' offices those are considered obstacles to winning your case. it's not that they're mean people who don't care about
poverty and discrimination and income inequality, but it's not their job to think about the effect that those rights have on their defendants. what prosecutors do all day is to put people this prison. and, again, i knew that going in, so it's amazing to me that i kind of got caught up in that mind cellset. part of it is just lawyer culture. we're competitive. we like to win, and the way that you move ahead in a prosecutor's office is to lock up as many people as you can for as long as you can. and unfortunately, i got caught up in that mindset. but fortunately, i got out. so now i call myself a recovering prosecutor. recovering because i still like to point my pinger at the -- finger at the bad guy, i still get upset when someone bullies somebody else. but what i said in the book is
true, it turned out that prosecutors are the people who are doing some of the most bullying, because they have these very strict sentences. and they go to people who are accused and say unless you plead guilty, i'm going to throw the book at you. you have some young people in those situations who might think they have a case. they know about their constitutional rights, and they may think, okay, i want to have my day in court. but, man, if you're looking at 20 years in prison if you go to trial and lose versus five years if you just said you're guilty, sometimes that five years can look awfully attractive given what the alternative is. again, even for some folks who are innocent. so lots of concerns that i developed as a prosecutor didn't
have a lot of time to think about it, though, and that's one of the reasons i wanted to start teaching and writing and be more thoughtful about the effect i was having locking up all these people. and especially all of these folks who looked like me. i was a young black man locking up young black men. and some of them deserve to be in prison. don't want to, you know, have any rose-colored glasses about that. but a lot of them really didn't. ask at the end of the day -- and at the end of the day, i had to ask myself, you know, did i go to harvard law school? was i paying back thousands of dollars in loans to put my people this prison? -- in prison? and answer for me was, no. >> host: what flipped switch? >> guest: well, there was a couple of, like, things, developments just in terms of wondering why all of the
defendants were black. if you go to superior court this d.c., you would think that white people don't commit crimes. white people don't use drugs, they don't steal from their neighbors, they don't get into fights. they're just not present in criminal court in d.c. even though the city was 50 percent white. and that was a problem. do you notice that? of course. do african-american prosecutors talk about that among themselves? of course they do. but at the end of the day, you know, you take the defendants that you have, the ones who the police and the fbi bring to you, and that's who they were bringing to me. so i had concerns about that. again, when i became a prosecutor, i didn't stop being paul putler. i didn't stop being a black man, i didn't stop being this kind of conscious brother who always knew about the reality of discrimination and economic inequality. i was still that guy. but the main thing that happened that made me stop being a
prosecutor was this very dramatic incident when i had the most high-profile case in the department of justice. i was working on public corruption cases then, and i was prosecuting a united states senator for public corruption. there were two guys on the team, i was the junior guy was i was a baby lawyer at that point. but it was a very high profile case. >> host: senator durham berger. >> guest: republican from minnesota. during the time i was working on that case, i got arrested and prosecuted for a crime that i didn't commit. people say it shouldn't have taken that to get you to see the inequities in the system, and it probably shouldn't, but, boy, did it. because a lot of the things that the defendants had said in my cases, they happened to me. the police lied. i mean, now my criminal defense attorney friends they say you say that like you're so
surprised. the police rye all the time. we told you that when you were a prosecutor. that's true. but fact that this cop would come into court, raise his hand, swear to tell the truth and then just tell a bald-faced lie, it amazed me. defendants had said, oh, there are witnesses out there who know what really happened, but they won't come to court. same thing in my case. my -- the criminal prosecution was this dumb little fred and barney dispute over a parking space. and the judge in the trial joked with the jury, this is a dispute about a parking space between two people, and neither one of them has a car, which was true. i had moved into this apartment, and a parking space came with it. so my bright idea -- again, i was paying back these loans from harvard law school -- was to rent out the parking space so that i could have a little money coming in on side. well, unbeknownst to me, my
crafty neighbor across the parking lot, she was renting out that space too, only it belonged to me. it didn't belong to her. so i rented it out, she starts harassing the woman who's parking there, and she starts putting stuff, notes on the car. so i get this idea that i'm going to tape her, film her doing this. i'm still -- i'm a prosecutor, right? that's what we do, we investigate crimes. and so she or someone put something on the car. i go outside to see. she sees me outside, calls the police and says that i pushed her. the police come, don't ask me any questions. they see this black guy -- i wasn't traditioned in my prosecutor suit, it was early in the morning. they just hauled me off to jail. it was ahazing. amazing.
so, man, you know, it was many years ago, and i'm still just like a lot of things about it. i'm angry, i'm hurt. it was devastating. i didn't go to harvard law school to end up another n this jail, and that's what i felt like. you know, people treated me during this -- the this one incident, the time i was actually locked up if for a few hours, they treated me like garbage. it was humiliating. but at the same time, i had all this privilege. when i got my proverbial phone call, i knew so many lawyers, i had to think of all these lawyers which ones do i want to call? i knew folks would be willing to help me, and they were. and, you know, at the end of the day, things worked out fine more me. the reason they worked out fine was i had status. people wanted to help me. the reason they worked out fine was because i had money. i could afford the best lawyer in town.
the reason why things worked out fine for me was because i had legal skills. i literally prosecuted people in the courtroom where i was being prosecuted. there are and the other reason why things worked out fine more me was because i was innocent. but when i thought about all those reasons, that didn't seem like the most important one. so, again, there was this evolution in my thinking about the unfairness of what i was doing day-to-day, but then that one dramatic thing, and the chapter in the book where i talk about that, i call it "the hunter gets captured by the game," because i got captured by the game. you know, maybe it was the come to jesus moment that i needed to make me kind of change my life's course. so i wouldn't wish that on anybody, but, you know, i learned from it. it made a man out of me, as i say in the book with. it made a black man out of me. >> host: you also say that after your trial you went home and
cried. >> guest: after the day i was arrested. because, again, it was humiliating. i never thought that i was going to be in the situation. i'd done everything right. i went to, you know, these great schools, i got really good grades. i clerked for a prestigious judge after i graduated, and then i had this cushy job with the department of justice. i was just on this track that getting arrested and prosecuted, that was never part of the plan. but, you know, it's part of the reality now for one in three young black men in this country, this moment, one many three, has a criminal case. they're either in court, on probation or parole or locked up. so one of the things that hip-hop talks about is that getting arrested for black men is kind of a rite of passage. it's something that happens to statistically many, many people.
>> host: paul butler, how much longer did you serve as a prosecutor after your trial? >> guest: for about another year. it was -- i didn't have to leave. you know, part of the reason i was being prosecuted was political was there had been some back and forth between my are thing office which was main justice and the office that was prosecuting me which was a local, the local d.c. prosecutor. so my folks at my office, they were all, you know, behind me. plus i was working, and i still had this very high profile case against the senator. i should say that, you know, i went to trial. i was acquitted, found not guilt in record time, literally less than ten minutes. until legally, ethically i was fine. i could go on being a prosecutor more as long as i wanted, but i couldn't morally. i just couldn't do that anymore given what had happened to me. i would have felt like a hypocrite. >> host: you also write in that
chapter that people may not believe you when you say you're innocent. >> guest: i have a record. i'm not as innocent as i once was. and i understand that. i mean, during the time that i was a prosecutor, you know, people who had been arrested, the police had all the credibility. you know, there are a lot of these consent cases where the police find drugs on someone, and the issue in court is whether the police had legal access to these drugs. the cop always says he consented, he said i could look in the book bag, and that's where i found the drugs. and the defendant always says, no, i didn't consent. and judges have to decide who they believe. we can imagine who they believe. republican always they -- almost always they believe the police. they don't believe the accused person. so, you know, my case was literally called the united states of america v. paul butler. so when you're that little guy with the, you know, most
powerful nation in the history of the world against you, you're in a tough position to. so i understand that, you know, when i was a prosecutor, i would say my name is paul butler, and i represent the united states of america. and those jurors would look at he like, okay, mr. united states, we'll do whatever you say. so when i was on the other side, again, i got the back end of that. so i understand how when, again, you get that accusation, it's hard for a lot of people to think that the government was wrong. >> host: back to" let's get free," you write that the criminal justice system gives the state a monopoly on exercising retribution, its legal hate. the problem with hate is that it's hard to contain. in the u.s. rush to pun bish is out of -- punish is out of control. >> guest: yeah. so when we look at who's locked up, we tend to imagine these hard core thugs, folks who are
like a menace to society. if you spend some time in a federal prison or a state prison, there are certainly some people like that, with but most of them -- a good half -- aren't. almost half of the people who are locked up are locked up for drug crimes, nonviolent drug crimes. and for those folks we have to wonder whether being locked in this cage with these horrible conditions, you know, subject to all kinds of violence and sexual attacks, lousy health care, horrible food, whether that's doing those folks any good, whether it's making them better, more responsible citizens when they get out. because about 90% of people who are in prison will eventually return to the community. so we want them to return as people who make a contribution, who are better equipped to be members of our society.
and that's not happening with the way that folks get punished now. so it is out of control. so, yeah, i'm the first person when i see on the news, you know, some creep stole an old lady's pocketbook and pushed her down, i'm like put him under the jail. but that's a feeling that can kind of create its own momentum. ask that's what's happened -- and that's what's hooped in our criminal justice system now. we started with the murderers and the rapists, and we lock those folks up way longer than almost any other country in the world. that wasn't enough. this rush to punishment could not be contained. so now we have people -- people -- folks won't believe this when i say it, but there are literally some people in this country who are serving life sentences for marijuana offenses. i mean, come on. so that just shows you how this rush to incarcerate, this great urge to pun bish -- part of it
is our culture, you know, our calvinist, puritanical roots which have always been hypocriteically applied, right? because we know that lots of people, 95% of people who are using drugs, they're not getting caught. sometimes i joke we talk a hot about whether drugs -- a lot about whether drugs should be legal. for white people they're legal right now. white people can use drugs, and by and large, they're not going to get caught. so it's a way, one of the things i wanted to do in this book was to think about ways to make punishment more equal, more just and, again, i'm still a prosecutor, recovering prosecutor, so i'm very concerned about lick safety. ask one -- public safety. and one of the concerns i had is when you take these nonviolent offenders, they're usually young
men between 17 and 30, and you lock them up with the guys who are hard core, violent criminals, that's like sending these young guys to finishing school for crime. so when they come out, they're often worse, not better. and so one of the things that we've seen in jurisdictions like new york and california that have safely reduced their prison population, violent crime has actually gone down. and, again, if you look at the e text of prison -- the effect of prison, that's very predictable. again, it's not a place where you send people to make them better. >> host: you write in 2009, 2.3 million people are this prison in the u.s. the u.s. has 5% of the world's population, 5% of its prisoners. -- 25% of its prisoners. 60% more people in u.s. prisons than in the u.s. military. state of california alone has more prisoners than do france, great britain, germany, japan,
singapore and the netherlands combined. in baltimore, maryland, population 615,000, 115,000 people were arrested in one year. under the law of 15 states, you can be sentenced to life imprisonment for a first-time, nonviolent marijuana offense. by 2011 with the number of americans under criminal justice supervision will be nearly eight million, that is equal to the combined populations of l.a., chicago and philadelphia. and finally, in the u.s. one new prison or jail opens every week. >> guest: so start with the good news. [laughter] we're getting a little bit better now. for the last couple of years, slowly the number of people who are being admitted to prison is going down. part of it is, you guessed it, economic. this financial crisis that we're trying to work our way out of. it turns out it's awfully
expensive to lock up two and a half million seem. conservatively, that's $25,000 a year per innate. so if you do the math, lots of folks are asking, well, what if? what if we spent this money on schools, on health care, on job training? wouldn't that be a better investment? in new york there are these blocks that are called million dollar blocks, and you wouldn't think it, but the million dollar blocks are in harlem and the bronx. ..
sentences are a lot lower and less things that we sent to prison for but they don't but the average person walking the streets of paris or london especially tokyo in chicago ordered new york or losses angeles so they are doing something right that we are not they're spending a lot less money on punishment or present or criminal court but they are getting the same or better return on their dollar. so rethink how can we get more like them? >>. >> host: some people may take issue we have to take some minimum level of risk. >> guest: we see that after the horrible day of september 11th asking if
there is a trade-off of security of the other. the user is no. so to think about ways to be safe and free. thatcher cody did law enforcement to get guns off this work -- sophistry -- the st. pierre and search them to see what they had. some communities were close to that but police don't normally do that. the bill of rights, the fourth amendment that says
we have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures, to get help from a nation, the right to a jury trial none of that makes it easier for the police actually they make it harder. but the men who wrote the constitution understood there is some big essentials to democracy about being deaf to load by the state unless you are going to hurt someone or the police not to march began in may q. do stuff you don't want to do. a very public safety wrist -- reserve. now there is a lot of concerns people talk about national security context with that is true with
domestic homeland security with people scared to death about crime and willing to tolerate all kinds of deprivations of liberty in order to feel safer. frankly a lot of white people will because they know they're not the victim of the deprivation. they know the draconian measures are made the applied to pour people, immigrants, to the trans gender community. >> host: that is the fourth or fifth time you have brought up the topic of race. >> guest: we talk about how many people are locked up. it is not like our prisons like america with her glorious diversity.
we have one african-american president and 1 billion african-americans in price -- in prison. the members have gone up during the last century. looking at the disparity is the 20's and 30's and 40's that is when we have the segregated lunch counters where african-americans and a and latinos could not live in certain neighborhoods were japanese citizens were sent to concentration camps. those were the good old days because then they were too salacious what now they are eight sleeve torn. what happened? they started to go up in the
'70s and '80s. cost is something happen that they started to commit these crimes? of course, not. the most important thing was the war on drugs it started off with president nixon did his component many interested in the beginning the main problem that people speak about with drugs is the way to cure the diseases to punish the sec is to cheat them to make them better. but then politics reared its ugly head. he had a strategy from race baiting. the war are drugs was one of the tools to basically
recreate an inequality but what that means african-americans don't use drugs more than anybody else. and then go to the national institutes of health. we doubt have as good statistics but almost everything you know, people from the same race about 13% of sellers of our black. go to use the justice department the bureau of justice statistics hatter locked up 60 percent are black. 13% who do the crime 60% those to the time.
that is just selective law enforcement that has led to the ever growing disparity when you think black people aren't being fair, a more equal, you have oprah, the president and then 1 million souls in prison. it is not a coincidence it is a result of the war are drugs. i've been shed earlier the debates if drugs should be legalized. i should say we legalize for most of history you could go with to the equivalent of the supermarket or the drug store in the '80s to buy opium it is if that is what you want to do then do it
just now we would not lock somebody up for each team prime rib. it is not the best idea but they don't walk them up when they were criminalize it was never about public safety was about race. so the first was opm in san francisco in 18 edie's the concerned is that they're using opium to seduce cocaine, the blacks in the south marijuana and mexican field hands you can trace the ethnic group a.m. the drug gave its history. so our war on drugs is awash with rest. think of the little tiny
thing you could hear hayek anybody the police know if they find it they get an arrest in you get in trouble but lots of people using these drugs reid never found no way to prevent people from using it to. we found that experiment is trying to stop alcohol the same thing with other drugs. so many other are using this. the police exercise their discretion with african americans. >> host: and ending the war on drugs is the best way to stop massive car restoration and make neighborhoods safer. >> guest: it is an important way to start i am a professor i think is
important to learn from history. the experience of the alcohol prohibition is so instructive. when we experimented locking people up for supplying alcohol what did we do? we created the illegal market marked by violence. out capone was nothing but a drive-by shooter. when we got rid of that illegal market and it was legal for people to sell it to we got rid of the violence associated with it. the same would happen with other drugs program not saying you should be able to walk into whole foods to buy crystal meth. the government has a role but punishment does not work. i wish people would not use cocaine. i think it is destructive
but we know the way to stop people is not to lock up those who become addicts. we have to have more responsible policies. we're getting there now. people know there is important debate happening with marijuana. we started with medical marijuana now 20 states those who have prescriptions can get that to help with their eldest. now we see in a couple of states recreational marijuana is legalized. in a few months you can go into stores in washington and colorado to purchase small amounts of marijuana for personal consumption. it will be a lot better than when people go to bars to get drunk.
if people act more responsible to their higher off marijuana than alcohol. so to have a lot and a policy that keeps their real. and we are getting there with marijuana. but a more astute policy. >> host: the roles of police with the war on drugs. who was grandma johnson in atlanta? >> guest: such a tragic story. she was an old woman who lived in a bad neighborhood in atlanta that was scared to death to leave her house. she almost never did. she had people delivered groceries.
88 years old. late one night she heard knocking at her door. of course, she was scared to death. who's that? you better open up this store. like a lot of folks she had a gun. she went to get the gun, she did not get a chance to use it because they raise and down the door and they shot her many times. it turns out they're the police. they received a tip from a snitch that somebody was selling drugs out of her house. it turns out it was the wrong house but at that point it was too late for grandma. it is a tragic story that i
recount to make a point about snitches. there is a famous debate in hip-hop about snitches and the concerns that lots of folks have because of stories like that. but people who know about crime, a criminal informants , and they usually know because they are participating in the crimes. the police over rely on the paid informant because nobody offers inspiration to the police. you would hope they would just for citizenship may be if there was a better relationship they would be more likely to cooperate. where i used to live people don't cooperate unless there is something in it for them. for the snitch is often in cash money or a break of
their own prosecution. the police say telos what is happening over there we will speak up for you at court. does that make people tell the truth? no. added did not make us niche who died about gramm of johnson's house tell the truth. if we use informants responsibly the argument is people who'd know about crime should report to it but the police be more thoughtful about how they assess evidence to make sure it is credible credible, responsible, in to make sure they don't have some incentive to lie. if we use enforcement testimony more responsibly we will all be safer to prevent tragedies like that poor woman.
>> host: in your book you write as an example of extraordinary power the war on drugs give us to please come to consider how accommodating courts has been to allow cops to detain people in various cases courts have ruled the following behavior is suspicious, enough to support a police investigation for carrying drugs on a plane. arriving late at night, arriving early in the morning, one of the first off for the first to get off one way ticket, round-trip ticket, carrying brand new luggage or a small bag traveling alone or with a companion acting nervous or acting call, wearing expensive clothing dressing in loose fitting sweaters. walking rapidly. >> guest: and i thought
that list from thurgood marshall in the opinion that he wrote although perfectly true he looked at perfect case is what was suspicious the to get offers are in the middle or last that is suspicious than they can stop you so the concern is police have all this discretion, so much power but day exercise it selectively. we talked about race early i want to be careful to settle think there is race there i have friends who are cops are prosecutors including african-americans and they say part of what you say is right we do selectively enforce the drug law in the african-american community because that is the community we care most about
that needs the protection and what some academics have said if we talk a race and crime it was the enduring enforcement of law up with communities of colors they did not come because of russia's to black folks getting into a fight so tastefully we are not at that day anymore but now some of these professors say that now we are focusing of the black community to make up for the bad history. in this view law enforcement is a public good like a school you should not complain if you have too much but the problem with that point of view is that there is the opportunity cost that you limit -- locked up so many people
people say what would the community looks like? i say it will look like a white community because right now they're not locked up for the crimes even though they commit them just as much. i a lot of friends who are police i feel like i am in trouble the first people i will call are the police. some of what they do when in doubt going into dark houses at night you could not pay the $1 billion so i have a respect but i just want them to do their jobs that are more consistent with our democracy and ideals. >> host: do we live in a police state today? gimmickry your getting their unfortunately with what is going on with us and assays
tracking stuff we did but no but it has always been the experience where they say police and al qaeda so if the ada is constantly watched there is a great sociologists death university of california that said when the government abandons you they never leave you alone. a lot of people in low-income communities of color that is a they are experiencing in fact, the criminal justice system that made way they experience government is the primary benefits station of folks getting stopped, are
arrested, locked up obviously that is not a positive so certainly they feel like they live in a police state. >> host: graduating from harvard law to do overlap with the president? >> no. but i did with the first lady. she was wonderful said with a lot of charisma, peter falk, i am proud to say that i knew her in law school. >> host: what was your pass from chicago to college said law school? >> guest: i was raised in the all black neighborhood didn't chicago. when an bill k came to our city it was the most
segregated city he had ever seen even more than birmingham. i did not know any white people growing up in chicago. i could ride my bike for blocks him literally never see any of them. then with public schools when it was high school my mom made me go to a jesuit school in a different part of town like where the mayor would said his kids' summer of said they were going there to. i did not want to go it was the all boys' school was different from my friends with elementary school but i got an amazing education with some of the best teachers settled think i had better teachers and college your law school that i had at st. ignatius prep. i am thankful for that
catholic education system. i give them credit for getting me excited about learning. from their between the jesuit it even more my mom pushing me african-american and education was the way out of the hood. i an example of love and others of that story. we are fortunate enough to get into a good college and good law school. i wanted to make a difference. to lift as i climbed that is that at sixth i got from my mom from the church who gave me a great high-school education. >> host: yale undergrad? spinet then harvard. >> host: then where did you work? eighty-one working for a judge in the federal trial
courts in manhattan. she was the second african-american woman federal judge in new york. she was a feisty who said criminal defense attorneys before she was the state judge said a federal judge. she had seen it all from police, prosecutors, defense attorneys covet and defendants. i think she was very effective and she got some tough breaks. she was in a court that was considered wall street the southern district of new york. i think a lot of lawyers who would practice would represent the top corporations in the investment banks were not used to taking orders from this black woman.
she did not have it easy but she gave them how. >> host: do serve as a defense attorney as well? >> guest: i did. after i was done with the clerk i joined a law firm here as an associate. for two years i did litigation. >> host: how long have you been teaching? >> guest: almost 20 years. it is the best job i ever had. i get to work with young people, helps them to sink about criminal law, the wonderful bill of rights, the constitution constitution, and we think a lot about race and crime especially in one course. parts of my job is the
wonderful opportunity to work with folks especially young people. of the other part is to work of books and articles when i was writing a "let's get free" about criminal-justice overall but i do have the one chapter about hip-hop so i will descend it did then start writing in think i have the best job in the world. >> host: paul butler's book "let's get free" will there be a follow up? democrat now i expect another booktv out this fall it is a lot about stop and frisk. >> host: you have also contributed an essay to this book comes with the new black and talk about the president and the supreme
court justice. >> guest: the two most powerful african americans think of the opposite of what you know, about the of president are justice clarence thomas use its own the supreme court and in a lot of ways that is true but politically they are very different but the president and clarence thomas got into office despite evidence that i believe he was sexually harassing anita hill. when it comes to race their surprising similar. they're both very suspicious of race based remedies.
neither one likes do talk about race of lot. obama because he does not think it is helpful. clarence thomas frankly because he does not trust white people. i have a'' from him where he says if there were dogs lying in the street with the victims of what young black men are victims of then the blue haired women would take care of them but because they are young black man nobody cares. so justice thomas is cynical about race-based remedies he thinks white people do not care but there is that concern. they also have in common the way they practice their blackness. they strategically avoid
being black when networks for them. when it does not then day don't pay attention. we saw that with justice thomas during the hearings about different interactions with anita hill. he called it the high-tech lynching being very significant with the whole history of violence against blackman suggesting it would happen to him. barack obama again just does not like to talk about race. he only does it when he absolutely has to then he says as little as he can get away with id explaining to white people how people fe